Pupil or student councils are only one way to involve pupils, the Anti-Bullying Network conference heard.
Schools need to be more imaginative and run circle time, focus groups and other forms of meetings, Brian Boyd of Strathclyde University, advised.
Teachers did not have to be present at all meetings and ideas could be forwarded anonymously. His comments chime with HMI's review of citizenship in youth work, published last week, which highlighted the dominance of confident, articulate young people in representative groups.
Six years ago, Dr Boyd said, a survey showed that only 3 per cent of teachers thought pupils should be involved in the school development plan but views have since shifted.
Dr Boyd was not averse to involving young people in selecting teachers for jobs in schools, although the climate might not be right. "You are unlikely to get more rogue elements than you have at present," he said, referring to school board and political representatives.
One youth worker said young people had been involved in her selection. One option was for them to interview applicants before the selection panel met.